He places his hand on my chest. “Come off it Arkaby.” I brace against his hand and grin Sam Spade-like. “Going to strong-arm me, Rixey?”
Rixey grumbles “Be reasonable, Arkaby!” Rixey’s associate says “It’d pay you to play along with us a little.” I look at him closely.
“Your name’s Haring, right?” “You got away with this and you got away with that but you can’t keep it up forever.” “Stop me when you can.”
“That’s what I intend to do!” He thrusts his hard face up towards mine. “There’s talk going around about you and Granger’s niece, Regi.”
“Anything to it?” “Not anything.” “There’s even talk that Granger shot at you but hit her and so you put him on the spot. Anything to that?”
“Don’t be a hog, Haring. Rixey’s theory that I had the motive, the means and the opportunity to liquidate Farley Granger doesn’t hold water.”
“I didn’t kill him.” Haring says “You haven’t heard me say you killed anybody. You brought it up.” “Did I? I can be pretty hard of Haring.”
“Haven’t you anything better to do than popping in here with a lot of fool questions?” Haring says “And get lying answers!” “Take it easy…”
Haring looks me straight in the eye. “If you say there’s nothing between you and Regi Granger, you’re a liar and I’m telling you so!”
“Is that the hot tip that brought you here at this ungodly time of night?” “One of them” “And the other?” “Let us in!” I shake my head.
Haring buttons his coat. “All right, Arkaby. Maybe you’re right bucking us. Think it over.” From inside Stuart Granger yells “Help! Police!”
We hear sounds of a brief struggle, of a blow and a subdued cry. Rixey says “I guess we’re going in!” “I guess you are.” They push past me.
Regi Granger huddles in an armchair, her arms over her face. Her eyes are white-circled, terrified. Stuart Granger is nowhere to be seen.
Haring moves swiftly to Regi’s side, grabs her wrist. He asks “What are you up to here?” She says “I tried to stop him! He wouldn’t listen!”
“Stop who?” She looks at me with appealing eyes. I don’t respond, leaning against the door with the detached air of a disinterested witness.
Haring says “Stop who?” “I had to. I was all alone in here with him. I had no choice!” Haring repeats “STOP WHO?” Rixey says “Take it easy.”
Before Regi can explain what happened, the kitchen door swings open and Stuart Granger comes out carrying a tray laden with Hot Pockets.
Placing the tray on the coffee table, Stuart asks “Who’s hungry? Coffee coming.” The cops stand speechless, though for different reasons.
Regi says “I begged him not to heat up Hot Pockets!” Stuart says “Oh, you dirty, filthy liar!.” “Make him tell the truth — why don’t you?”
Rixey stares a moment and then finds his voice “You-you’re dead!” Haring says “He is if he eats that stuff!” Stuart says “But it’s vegan!”
“Here’s your vegan!” Regi hurls a Hot Pocket at Stuart who claps a hand to his head. Red sauce runs through his fingers, down into his eyes.
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